Luapula Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) forum chairperson Nsama Kearns has refuted claims that the people of Luapula have agreed to the proposed Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2018.
In an audio, which circulated on social media yesterday, Kearns said Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe should not speak on behalf of the people of Luapula.
“As Luapula NGO forum, we are deeply concerned and disappointed by the social media statements, which YALI president (Andrew) Ntewewe has released stating that the people of Luapula Province have agreed or rather nodded to the proposed Amendment to the Constitution of Zambia. I would like to advise Mr Ntewewe that Constitution Reforms and Education Coalition (CRECO) is not an umbrella body under which Zambian NGOs operate. And, therefore, when you visit a province like Luapula, you need to find out what structures are on the ground. In Luapula, we are operating as a forum, which was formed under the mandate of the NGO Policy of 2019.Therefore, when NGOs are coming to our province, they need to let us know what is happening so that we move together,” Kearns said.
“Don’t come to our province and speak on our behalf, and start conducting activities without engaging us! Come to Mansa where most of the NGOs are found. We do not want you to bring the confusion you left in Lusaka through your red card campaign and bring it to Luapula. We are peaceful people and we work by the law and even our engagements have been peaceful. But if you are going to come to our province and say otherwise, you are going to force us to have a protest! A campaign that will strongly show what the people are thinking. So, don’t come and interfere in what the people of Luapula are saying.”
And Kearns insisted that the holding of a public forum in Samfya and Chifunabuli did not reflect the general view of people in Luapula Province.
She said the people of Luapula had rejected the NDF resolutions and wondered why Ntewewe said the people of Luapula had now agreed to them.
“Samfya and Chifunabuli are not Luapula, they are not even the provincial centers of the province. So, holding a forum in these areas does not reflect the general view for the people of Luapula Province. We would like to disagree and protest to this statement that Luapula has agreed to these Constitution amendments just because of the opinion of few people in this area where the public forum was held,” insisted Kearns.
“We, as an NGO forum, had called for a public forum in which the majority of the people through the live coverage had given their views. And most of their views was that the people are not happy with the NDF recommendations and they are calling on all members of parliament to strongly reject these Constitution amendment proposals. So, why should he come to the province and say the people are happy with this? Which people is he referring to? Are you talking about the people that have an interest in a political party or your followers? We are challenging him that before you leave Luapula Province, Mr Ntewewe, can we have dialogue, can we meet, can we have a debate, where we can hear the views of the people?”